Why It Is Not a Good Idea to File For Bankruptcy without a Lawyers
You may be tempted to file for bankruptcy without legal representation.
After all, why must I spend on legal fees?
To be sure it is not a good idea.
Filing work requires careful preparation and a thorough understanding of legal issues.
Misunderstandings of the law and blunders in the process can adversely affect your rights.
Instead of filing pro se (the term for representing yourself), seeking advice from a bankruptcy law firm Northern Virginia is strongly advised because the impact of bankruptcy can have legal outcomes on your finances in the long haul.
But of course filing for bankruptcy pro se is feasible if the case is straightforward.
Your case can be considered simple if:
- If you are able to pass the first part of the Chapter 7 means test, which will prove your yearly income is lower than the state median.
- There is no fraud case against you.
- You are not having any priority debts you cannot discharge.
- The property you own is not significant.
Remember, even the simplest case needs filling out extensive paperwork, researching bankruptcy, getting hold of financial documentation, and following the local rules.
It is true that bankruptcy forms are available to the public free of cost.
But are you sure which among the several types of bankruptcy suits your specific case?
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common options.
- Chapter 7 is liquidation bankruptcy that discharges most of your debts. But you may have to liquidate non-exempt debts.
- Chapter 13 offers a reorganization plan through which you can payback creditors over a period of time. The entire process takes 3-5 years.
You will have to decide which suits you best.
This may not be possible because of the hidden complications in bankruptcy cases. You do not have an automatic right to discharge a Chapter 7 case.
If you err somewhere, you risk your case getting dismissed, your assets being sold or face the possibility of confronting a lawsuit in your case to determine if certain debts should not be discharged.
If you are running a small business, have income above mean level and a substantial number of assets, or have creditors that are alleging fraud against you, it is best to consult a bankruptcy attorney.
“There are several things a filer must know”, says one of the bankruptcy lawyers in Northern Virginia. “Your credit score can get a hit if you are filing on your own or if you have personal guarantees with creditors”.
“It can impact your ability to secure a loan or gain access to credit”.
Filers must also know that the following debts cannot be discharged.
- Child support
- Real estate liens
- Federal and state taxes
- Certain luxury goods
Consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Keep in mind that the average bankruptcy petition is 50 pages at least.
The task can be overwhelming. Any of the bankruptcy lawyers in Northern Virginia will accurately fill out the forms and attend hearings and guide you through the whole process.